#SupportingPerformance | Interview with Eriko Nitu – World Champion in Ashihara Karate (in 2023)

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World champion Karate Interview

Eriko Nitu is a student at the National College I.C. Bratianu in Pitesti, and in 2023, he became the world champion in Ashihara Karate in the 70 kg category.

We believed in his potential and wanted to be part of his success story. Thus, Eriko’s participation in the World Championship in Japan was made possible with the support of Roweb. (This was one of the community involvement actions by the company in supporting local values in 2023).

Recently, he visited Roweb’s headquarters, where our colleague, Lorena Iordache (HR Manager), invited him to share more about what it means to be a champion and the journey of a performer from goal to success.

Your first memory related to karate: How did your passion for this sport begin?

My passion for Ashihara Karate began for me in first grade. I can say it went hand in hand with school. I remember being very clumsy at first. I did many exercises in training completely opposite to my colleagues, but I really enjoyed what I was doing. And that’s how I decided to practice this sport.

The first time you stood on the podium, how old were you?

I started in 2012, and in 2014, I had my first competition. I went to the European Championship in Hungary and won second place

Did you feel like you had the potential to become a world champion then? 🙂

It was quite important to me, and it motivated me to continue.

How did things change after winning second place at the European Championship? How did you continue your preparation?

I continued to attend training sessions, passed all grade exams, and thus, I progressed in rank.

How many training sessions did you have per week?

I train daily. 2 hours or 1 hour and a half – it depends on the duration of the training.

Describe a typical day in your life before a competition, for example, 2-3 weeks before.Japan.

For example, before the World Championship, there were daily training sessions and many sacrifices. I remember coming tired from school or meditation, and still, I had to go to training to achieve the desired form. I did physical conditioning exercises, technical training, and combat training. In addition to gym sessions, I also did home workouts specifically to achieve top performance.

Are there specific equipment you need?

Yes. Combat gear or different dumbbells for strength. You don’t need anything extravagant. I do a lot of bodyweight exercises. They are much more beneficial and healthier.

Throughout your training, did you have a dedicated person to help you with the mental aspect? Someone to encourage you?

No. I handle this aspect on my own.

Because we were talking about you being in the twelfth grade at a top high school in Arges, how challenging was it to balance your passion with studying?

School is a priority for me, and sports have helped me in this regard. Ashihara Karate disciplined me, and I can say that I adopted perseverance and determination from karate and applied them in everyday life, qualities that helped me get to where I am today.

Eriko, can you tell me what, in your opinion, is the secret to becoming a world champion?

I believe it’s not about talent. You need a bit of talent, but to achieve excellence, I think it has to be 100% hard work. And that’s what I did: I worked hard and managed to win this title.

If we were to put it in percentages: between hard work, talent, and mindset, how would you allocate each?

Then I would say: 90% hard work, 10% mindset, and… zero talent 🙂

What plans do you have related to karate and competition participation?

I hold a black belt 1st dan, and in the future, I would like to take the exam for a black belt 2nd dan, meaning to obtain the rank of sensei. It’s an exam I have to take in Japan. It can be organized in the country as well, but with the agreement of those in Japan.

We met earlier; you participated in a Roweb presentation for the Open Doors Day with the team of students from the high school you attend. Can you tell me a few words about what caught your attention, what you remember?

I really liked that I learned about the programming languages you work with and saw what a day of work looks like at your company. I think it’s important to see this to know what to expect in the future.

Do you see yourself in such a role in the future? As a programmer?

Yes, I want to study Automatics at the Polytechnic University and then work in IT.

Is there anything a company like Roweb could do for young people like you during high school?

I believe there are many young people who don’t know what they want to do in the future, and a program that shows them what it means to be in IT would help them a lot in choosing this specialization if they find themselves in it. I discovered my passion for IT in such an event.

Is there a motto or a quote that inspires you and resonates with you?

Yes, it’s from the Ashihara Karate Dojo Kun – a motto I’ve been following since I first entered the training hall: “Show everything I can today and strive to perfect myself for tomorrow!

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